Greece started talks with EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials on Wednesday to hammer out details of an economic plan that could offer the euro zone member 40-45 billion euros to exit a debt crisis.
With borrowing costs at a 12-year high and its economy shri-nking for a second straight year, Greece is struggling to slash its budget gap with austerity measures to convince markets it will not default on debt.
But Prime Minister George Papandreou’s socialist government faces perils from both home and abroad, as investors drive up bond yields, pushing Athens towards the bailout, while Greek workers oppose further austerity measures.
Finance minister George Pap-aconstantinou began meetings at 0700 GMT with mid-level advisers from the European Commission, the European Central bank and IMF.
ECB officials were among the last to arrive in Athens for the talks, which could last for weeks, after aircraft delays due to the Icelandic volcano.
The Mediterranean country has yet to ask for activation of the package, which at 30 billion euros ($40.33 billion) from euro zone states and another 10-15 billion from the IMF in the first year, would be the largest such bailout ever attempted, if Greece asked for this.